The objective of this study is to investigate the porosity and microstructure-induced mechanical property variations in additive manufactured (AM) stainless steel (SS) 316L alloy with a view to create functionally graded (FG) bulk structures in the future. The first step towards fulfilling this objective is to explore the range of mechanical properties of SS 316L (such as hardness, density, Modulus, and stress-strain behavior) achievable by varying Volumetric Energy Density (VED)-related process parameters such as laser power and scanning speed, in a pulsed selective laser melting (SLM) process. In the present work, the mechanical properties of interest are hardness, density, and Young’s modulus. For this, a design of experiments consisting of 28 samples was assembled. The results demonstrate the significant variations achievable in hardness (209–318 HV), relative density (90–99%) and modulus (154–211 GPa) across the samples. In summary, a strong correlation between the process parameters and the resulting mechanical properties were identified which also depends on the underlying porosity and microstructure. Altogether, this study exhibited the feasibility of fabricating tailored spatial mechanical properties, thereby demonstrating the feasibility of SLM to tailor mechanical responses.

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